Rise Biscuit Co.
by Melissa D. Corbin
“For every $100 spent at an American farmers market, $62 stays in the local economy, and $99 stays in state,” reports the Farmers Market Coalition. Indeed, these markets are growing jobs and strengthening local and regional economies. So, when stay-at-home mom, Kay Allison set out to grow a home-based biscuit mix business, the Open-Air Market at the Phoenix Public Market was an integral part of the plan. It was 2012 that Allison announced the birth of her fourth child, Rise Biscuit Co. Over time Phoenicians began their Saturday mornings with biscuits at this year-round farmers market.
Allison was brought up on an Arizona dairy farm, where she remembers her father coming in from milking the cows, while her mother would bake a piping hot pan of biscuits most mornings. Prior to motherhood, her background was rooted in the food service industry, which she loved. “I wanted to do something that meant something to me,” she says. Marrying those days on the dairy farm with her industry passions, and voila, a biscuit mix company was born.
Today, there are 65 dairy farms across the state, including her uncle’s- Danzeisen Dairy. “Phoenix doesn’t have a lot of face-to-face time with farmers,” explains Allison. So, it’s important to her to showcase these verdant farms in an otherwise desert climate. While the dairy farms are certainly an inspiration, she also uses locally grown and milled wheat from Hayden Flour Mills for her premium biscuit mix. Hayden Flour Mills is a family business that is devoted to making the freshest and most flavorful flours from some of the world's oldest varieties of wheat. “This is THE place to grow grain,” says Jeff Zimmerman, co-owner of Hayden Flour Mills.
“A biscuit is really simple, but it’s easy to mess up,” Allison continues, “having good quality ingredients with the right technique is key.” This is one food entrepreneur who enjoys empowering the home cook to make the best biscuit they can. Each $9 bag of Rise Biscuit Co. comes with a recipe card and tips from Allison to make the perfect biscuit. While farmers market shoppers peruse the many small farm tents, aromas of fresh biscuits permeate the air. Allison offers an array of seasonal jams and honey found at the market to compliment her piping hot biscuits, just like her Mom used to make ($2.50 per biscuit.)
Did you know that 30% of all American enterprises are owned by women? A 2015 report commissioned by American Express found that women-owned businesses generate over $1.4 trillion in revenues and employ nearly 7.9 million people. Snag a few bags of Rise Biscuit Co. biscuit mix at risebiscuitco.com, and you’ll be supporting a driving force of today’s American economy- the small-business woman.
Here at “50 States of Biscuits,” we like sharing recipes. The Rise Biscuit Co. biscuits are a recipe all on their own. So, we asked Kay Allison for a different type of recipe- a simple recipe for success offered to budding food entrepreneurs.
“Find something you love and are good at. Get REALLY good at it. My business is based solely on a biscuit, and it works. Keep it simple…and most important, just have fun!” - Kay Allison CEO and Founder of Rise Biscuit Co.
While Allison has no visions of becoming a wealthy corporation, who knows? Perhaps, an aspiring young biscuit maven will take over the Rise Biscuit Co. empire. Allison says her 5-year-old daughter, Kate, is exhibiting early signs of biscuit making prowess.
Corbin is a Nashville-based freelance food and travel journalist. She’s also the founder of Corbin In The Dell, a company connecting those who care where their food comes from through content development and strategies that matter. Follow her on instagram @melcorbin and twitter @mdcorbin.